Taipei, Feb. 1 (CNA) An artwork by Filipina artist Patricia Eustaquio inspired by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his exploration of the Philippines is among the standouts at an exhibition of 25 artworks at Mind Set Art Center in Taipei, a contemporary art platform and gallery that showcases artworks by Taiwanese, Asian, and international artists.
Occupying one of the main spaces near and on the gallery’s left wall and rethinking the themes of exploration and empire, Eustaquio’s 2016-2021 installation art piece “Land” features a finely sculptured coconut laying on top of rich lava salt on a raised display beside a round mirror engraved with a quote from a book that detailed the voyage of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
The engraving from the book The First Voyage around the World (1519-1522): An Account of Magellan’s Expedition by Antonio Pigafetta states “I long ago dreamed, said the sultan, that some ships were coming hither from distant countries. I am an astrologer as well as a king, and have examined the moon to see if this was true; and the moon assured me it was so.”
She found the particular passage from Pigafetta’s account to be mysterious and fascinating, which inspired her to create an artwork using the text that would convey its spirit of mysticism and magic, Eustaquio said in a statement.
“The feeling of looking at the moon, or into a crystal ball to glimpse the future,” Eustaquio said about what she hoped gallery visitors would feel when looking at “Land.”
She was interested in how the search for and trade of goods during the age of exploration and empire affected people’s lives then and now, Eustaquio said.
“Europe was on a quest to find exotic goods, spices, et cetera, and their ‘discovery’ of the group of islands now called the Philippines was key in defining a route for the mass movement of goods from east to west,” Eustaquio said.
Magellan’s “discovery” of the Philippines meant he encountered a cluster of volcanic islands full of gold, roasted pigs, coconuts, and palm wine, in addition to fierce as well as welcoming and friendly men, Eustaquio said.
It is the first time “Land” is being shown in Taiwan, Queena Chu (朱倢瑢), partner and director of the organizer Mind Set Art Center (MSAC), told CNA.
Born in the Philippines in 1977, Eustaquio is considered one of the leading Filipino artists of her generation, working with a variety of media to create themes in a manner that is evocative and familiar.
“Land” is being displayed as part of the exhibition, “Flowing Light: A Group Show of Contemporary Artists,” held from Jan. 8-Feb. 23.
The exhibition showcases a total of 25 works in a variety of media such as oil paintings, ink paintings, installations, concept, and performance art by 21 artists, including four from the Philippines.
Other artworks by Filipino artists include Marina Cruz’s 2021 oil painting “Patched Me,” Nona Garcia’s 2019 oil painting “Involuntary Landscape,” and Buen Calubayan’s 2019 installation work “Pasyon and Revolution: Light and Brotherhood.”
MSAC founder Andre Lee (李政勇) told CNA that he found art from the Philippines to be outstanding and that because of its colonial history, the country had better programs for the academic study of art than other countries in the region.
“Their study of arts has existed for hundreds of years and their artwork tradition runs deep,” Lee said.
MSAC is a contemporary art platform and gallery dedicated to creative programs and collaborative projects with artists and curators from different regions to promote cultural exchange, according to its website.
(By William Yen)
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